Okay, okay, I confess: I’m a Daddy’s Girl. Through and through. My Mother even noticed and mentioned it a time or two, or a thousand. Anybody else?
Daddy was an only child and so am I. Please don’t feel sorry for us. We “lonely only-s” enjoy our little universe which revolves around us. (Another confession!)
This past week, on March 12th, my Dad would have been eighty-nine. He lived to be eighty-five. Knowing many friends who have lost their fathers at a much earlier age, I must remember I am blessed to have had him with us for so long.
When I was young, I went everywhere with my Dad. Saturday mornings were the best. We’d hop in his Cutlass convertible and drive downtown to McAdams and Morford, a drugstore with a soda fountain. We’d sit on those fun, swirly stainless steel stools (say that fast five times!) and sip-n-savor a scrumptious chocolate malt. Makes my mouth water just to talk about it!
Then we’d go to his office. I would spend hours drawing on a tremendous chalkboard. Nope, Daddy wasn’t a teacher, he was a stockbroker! This dates me a tad: back then, at Merrill Lynch, they used to write the stock market quotations on a chalkboard! Can you believe that?
Another favorite story came from Daddy’s desire to have me play tennis with him. You know that game where you have to hit the ball over the net, not the fence, as was my talent. He and Mother sent me off to tennis camp with high hopes.
Knowing Daddy was praying for a miraculous make-over of his non-athletic child, I was tickled to tote home a big ole’ trophy. Trouble was, it was for winning the talent show for a gymnastics routine, NOT for winning a tennis match! (Some of you heard that story at his funeral!)
So why sad, mad and glad? Well, the sad part’s obvious. Little things still make me think of Daddy, usually unexpectedly. Tears may fall, followed by a smile or some laughter. Sometimes I nearly pick up the phone to call him. That’s the sad part….oh, but Heaven’s comin’! We’ll all have plenty of time to pick up where we left off. That’s the glad part. Let’s be GLAD that God has put eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
The mad part requires an explanation: I fully believe God orchestrated what I’m about to share with you. It proves He has a huge sense of humor.
Here comes another confession: being a Daddy’s girl sorta made me not a Mamma’s girl. I s’pose one of the reasons Mother and I challenged each other (Oh, I’m being soooo very tactful…) was because we were a lot alike. Butting heads was our specialty.
So when Daddy went to be with Jesus before Mother did, that’s why I was mad at him. Why would he leave me with her? How was I going to take care of her? I don’t think she really wanted just me either!
On Daddy’s death bed, I promised him I’d take care of Mother. Oh boy. (Lest you’re horrified at those preceding sentences, please hang with me for one more paragraph and see where God was working…)
Here’s where the Lord intervened… I know He was havin’ some fun with this scenario, too, and He and I are going to have a little chat about that when I get to Heaven.
I was reminded of that little-wee-tiny commandment, yes, one of THE Ten Commandments, about honoring your Father and Mother. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
The Life Application Bible points out that “this is the first commandment with a promise attached!” Let’s look at that again: We must honor our parents, “so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” May this be motivation for us all!
So, a little attitude adjustment went into gear. Mentally, before entering the nursing home prior to each visit with my Mother, I’d take a deep breath in the car and say major prayers. (On occasion, if I forgot, I usually paid for it!)
John and I often wonder how we survived those few years of moving Mother and Daddy from one type of care facility to another, all three of our boys all-the-while lifting and moving more furniture, again and again. God bless ‘em!
Clearly the Lord was with us and He is who carried us, each step of the way, each season: first burying Daddy, and then burying Mother. Matthew 28:20 was my go-to verse: “And lo, I am with you always…” reminding me I am never alone.
And my go-to book at the time, another God-incident, was Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. It’s a perpetual pep talk straight out of Scripture, focusing on the Psalms of Ascent, something we all desperately need.
I can honestly say I feel like my Mother and I came to some closure in our relationship. She did the best she could with a very stubborn daughter. I tried to honor her even when I may have been kicking and screaming on the inside. The Lord knows my heart. I now realize He left Mother here longer for our healing.
Good grief, I can be such a slow learner!!! Thanks be to Him who never leaves us nor forsakes us. (Hebrews 13:5b) Let’s read on to verse 6: “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid… ’
It’s tough being a “big girl”. I could have pitched the pity-party-of- all-pity-parties. One friend said, “Gosh, so are you considered an orphan now?” Wow, I hadn’t thought of it that way!!! It all boils down to the fact that I didn’t really want to grow up. Anyone else?
You’ve heard me say more than once: “friends are cheaper than therapy”. Some of you out there have walked me thru’ these seasons, with worn shoulders to cry on as proof! You are my “soul refreshers”, the very key to one’s sanity! (Click here to learn more about a soul refresher…..)
Back to being sad, mad, and glad: You can see from this little circle of emotions, there’s a good ending. Heaven’s coming! And if you’re a Daddy’s girl or a Mamma’s girl, that part doesn’t really matter.
What REALLY matters is we are ALL “Daddy’s girls” in God’s Kingdom, if you’ve put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.* We are Daughters of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. (And for you guys out there, same is true for you: You are Sons in the Kingdom of God, Sons of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. May we ALL Praise His Name.)
Galatians 3:26 says, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”
*Bottom Line: Where does your faith lie today? Do you know Jesus? I pray you do. If you don’t, will you seek Him? He’s been pursuing you all your life! All you have to do is ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Ask Him into your heart. Tell Him of your sins and thank Him for taking them for your redemption. Isaiah 1:18 invites us, “’Come now, let us settle the matter, ‘says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.’” Grab the Gospel and don’t let go.
“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)
The Lord delights in us. That is where we must anchor our soul.
‘Til next time!
(This post is dedicated to, ohhhh, you can easily guess this one: To my earthly Father, Gordon Mills, better known to our boys as “Go-Go”. I cherish studying God’s Word from Daddy’s Bible, which I gave him when he began attending Bible Study Fellowship many years ago. Guessing he’s the only guy who would schedule his hip replacement surgery around the University of Kentucky Wildcats’ football season! If your earthly Father is still with you, go give him a hug. You’ll never regret it. Thanks for indulging me in a walk down memory lane today.)